Setting a category's notifications to "tracking" not working as expected?

I don’t understand how the “Tracking” category notification setting is intended to work, but I assumed that it would behave as though all new topics within that category would have their topic notification setting selected as “Tracking.” That doesn’t appear to be the case, not on our (hosted) instance where I first noticed it and not here.

This morning, I set the #support category to have a notification setting of “Tracking.” I had zero unread posts when I did that. Upon returning to the site later today, I see there are two new posts with tiny blue dots (marking them as “new topics”), but without entering my typical unread queue:

Upon entering one, I see its notification setting is “Normal”:

Shouldn’t this be “Tracking”? And shouldn’t it be tagged as unread?

Even curiouser, a random smattering of old topics got marked with unread posts. These were not unread when I enabled the category notification setting — nor did they immediate appear — but now, I see them as unread:

Are the topics only tracked if I open them (or have opened them)?

Is this working as expected?

I’ve tried a few ways to test this out on a couple of different sites I’m on, and I can’t find a way that doesn’t confuse me. :slightly_smiling_face: No clear answer for you, but this is what I did:

  • Set a category to tracking
  • Wait for all the background jobs to kick in
  • Have lots of blue unread and new markers on old topics
  • Check for individual topic tracking status. Lots were Tracking, some weren’t
  • Dismiss all from New and Unread
  • Got some more blue markers (maybe the background jobs still ticking away)
  • Dismissed those too
  • Eventually got only new stuff showing. None missing.

I think that me dismissing them (though not clearing tracking) may then spoil that forum for another test with that category.

No idea if that is helpful, but didn’t want you to think no one was listening. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It’s also worth noting that this isn’t how watching a category behaves — that does what I expect and all new topic are marked as watched.

Seems like your topics are being set to “Normal” notification setting rather than “Tracking”.

I am seeing the same behaviour with the Tracking” category notification setting - but all the new topics are being set to “Watching” :confounded:

I wonder if you have any of these settings set for your #support category (in particular the “default categories regular”) [Normal used to be called Regular… this seems a hangover in the settings language]

I think I have found the reason for my issue - which is in a PM group… this has a similar setting [NB have changed the text to Normal Automatically from just “Normal”]…


Now that I have set it to “Normal” the message topics seem to be setting to this automatically no matter what the user has the group notification setting set to themselves (which is unexpected! I thought this was just the default INITIAL setting which people could override) - it was previously on “Watching” so it didn’t matter what people had it set to themselves then either, it set the messages to “Watching” [as a possibly separate/related bug, the group notification setting changes people make are not saving…]

Copying @JammyDodger :slight_smile:

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This one I think I do have a repro for. :slightly_smiling_face:

When you change the user default notifications for a group, it should give you a pop-up like this, which will let you choose whether you override existing preferences or not:

I’ve just had a quick run through on my test site, and I think I’m getting some unexpected results:

  • Create group
    • With admin as Owner
    • Who can message this group? = group members, moderators and admins
    • Default notification level = Watching
  • Send group message so the inbox appears in the message menu
  • Confirm correct notification level for user :heavy_check_mark: (flip to desktop view if on mobile)

  • Manage/Interactions
  • Change default notification level to Normal (and save)
  • Would you like to apply this change historically? = Yes
  • Confirm correct notification level for user after change applied :heavy_check_mark: (now ‘Normal’)

  • Add a second user to the group.

Expectation: this new user will have the current group default notification of ‘Normal’. However they got the original group notification of ‘Watching’.

Does that marry up to what you’ve been seeing @jerry0?

If so, this sounds like a different issue to @mbauman’s, so may need to be split off into a new topic to track it better.

I mean, it’s not hard to reproduce my initial report here on meta itself. Here I have the #support category set as tracking — and have had it set like this since my initial report when I reproduced what was happening on our hosted instance.


No new topics are actually tracked until I open them. For example, the most recent post right now is:


When I open it, I can see it’s set to normal:


But upon refreshing the page I see it’s actually tracked (I refreshed immediately so as to not trigger the time-based watching):


This seems pretty clear-cut, no?

Topics only tracked if I open them (or have opened them). This isn’t how watching a category works.

Thanks @JammyDodger for the repro :star_struck:

Yes that’s happening here - and is one of the issues.

A second issue is that (strangely only some) of the users are reporting that they can’t change their notification levels for a group - whilst it changes temporarily, when refreshing the browser it reverts.

And a third issue is that even if they haven’t manage to change permanently, they seem to be getting the default notification level for the group in any case… (it sets new PM topics to that no matter what their personal setting for that group says)

This is somewhat similar behaviour to what I’ve seen - and I mentioned as the “second issue” above…